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International School Singapore
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Languages at the IB Programme


GESS has a leading position among the international schools in Singapore.

GESS students around a globe

In addition to English as the language of instruction, all primary school students will learn German (except the ones in the Danish Mother Tongue Programme) at whatever level is appropriate to them be it complete beginner or native speaker. When students reach secondary school, they will pick up a third language (French, Mandarin or Spanish) or pursue their mother tongue language. Dutch and Danish are already well-developed mother tongue languages at GESS and have their own classes but we also support other native level languages where possible through our Mother Tongue Support Programme.  

The foreign language acquisition courses in the Secondary School (MYP language B) are typically in small classes to provide a maximum exposure and practice in the language chosen. We follow the communicative approach of the MYP and link the course tightly to the culture of the country. 


At GESS, French is taught throughout the secondary from Grade 6 to Grade 12. Students are fully prepared for the IB Diploma requirements in language acquisition (MYP language B). In addition, we prepare the students to take the European Frame of Reference exams. The first level, A1, is taken in Grade 7, the second A2 in Grade 8 and the third, B1, in Grade 10. IB students go for the B2 or C1 depending on their level. 

For our students joining GESS in Grade 9 we also offer a beginners’ class.



Mandarin is offered in Middle School from grades 6 to 10. Students learn the characters starting from Grade 7.



We started offering Spanish three years ago and have now reached to Grade 8. This will flow through into Grade 9 in the 2014/15 academic year and into Grade 10 in the 2015/16 academic year. Students are prepared for the European Frame of Reference exams. 


Mother tongue programme

Some of our families choose to have their child maintain their mother tongue whilst in the Middle School. These lessons are conducted by experienced tutors during the third language lesson time, so there is no need for after school lessons. GESS works with parents to find suitable tutors to support their child’s mother tongue language while meeting the demands of the IB’s curriculum. To this end, we liaise with tutors to get a curriculum overview and follow closely the assessments and reporting in the language studied. When possible, we work with government approved agencies to ensure a smooth return in the country and language of origin if this need would arise. This is sometimes undertaken online with the national education system of the country.

Italian Supplementary School

As part of our support for the wider European community, we provide the Italian Supplementary School with classroom space to hold Italian language classes on a Saturday at the Main Campus.

Watch our mother tongue video and learn more...

"The Dutch programme at GESS makes me not forget where my real home is."

Lisa, Dutch Student, Grade 10 of European Section

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CPE registration number: S72SS0010G
Registration period: 22 June, 2017 – 21 June, 2023

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IB Curriculum

The English speaking European Section of GESS is a fully fledged International Baccalaureate World School, and one of the few in the world who are authorised to deliver the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and the Diploma Programme (IBDP).

Since opening in 2005, the European Section has grown rapidly to become a school with a reputation for quality education with a strong community feel. We now have over 600 students. The vast majority of our students are European passport holders, for whom GESS represents a vital connection with home. Students are thus provided with a safe, friendly and familiar environment in which they are challenged to thrive as they grow into independent and responsible global citizens.

Our academic and pastoral programmes are designed to support this demographic and ultimately to prepare our students for returning to Europe or for entry into European universities. To this end we endeavor to support mother tongue language acquisition so that our students do not lose this vital connection with their home culture. Fortunately, given the high entry requirements into European schools and colleges, this also means that our students are especially well prepared for study all over the world, particularly North America, the UK and Australia.

The Pre-School department provides education from 18 month to 6 years in either English or German. Children are placed in groups according to their age.


German Curriculum

Since the school was founded in 1971, the school has evolved into a school with two sections. As an accredited “Excellent German School Abroad”, the German Section of the German European School Singapore (GESS) offers all major German school leaving certificates. The European Section is an authorized IB World School offering education in English across all three IB programmes.

The German Section supports the students to develop their German roots. We give them wings for the linguistic demands of a globalized world through our differentiated English programme from grade 1 onwards. In secondary school some subjects are taught in English. Our students are benefitting from numerous bonding activities and have additional space to enjoy the internationality of the school.

Our Pre-School department provides education from 18 month to 6 years in either English or German. Children are placed in groups according to their age. 

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